CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Magnificent Mile® invites visitors to kick off the holiday season with a day full of family fun! Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida will lead an unforgettable evening lighting parade down North Michigan Avenue, illuminating more than one million lights on 200 trees.
The beloved holiday tradition promises a weekend of festivities that family and friends can enjoy throughout The Magnificent Mile district, including an interactive wonderland of holiday-themed activities at Lights Festival Lane starting at 11:00am on November 21 (Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Avenue).
"Lights Festival is a wonderful opportunity for us to help kick off the holiday season for our community," said Justine Fedak, SVP, Marketing, BMO Harris Bank. "For the tenth consecutive year, our BMO volunteers are thrilled to be people first and bankers second, sharing in the magic along The Magnificent Mile and helping to create special holiday memories for everyone who attends the Lights Festival."
BMO Harris Bank will allow visitors to feel like they are a part of the parade with a special green screen photo booth, in addition to face painting and appearances from mascots Hubert the Lion, Benny the Bull and Tommy the Hawk. Festival goers will also have the chance to visit with Santa, engage with interactive activities and sample some delicious treats from Connie's Pizza, Eli's Cheesecake, Fannie May Chocolates and more. Don't forget to stop by one of three BMO Harris Helper Tents for insider tips and hand warmers!
As the Official Airline of The Magnificent Mile, Southwest Airlines® presents Michelle Branch for a live concert on the BMO Harris Bank Stage. The afternoon's line-up also includes Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players; Cuban-born pop singer and American Idol finalist Lazaro Arbos; and the Petoskey Steel Drum Band, ranked as one of Michigan's coolest high school bands. Fans can also look forward to a meet-and-greet with Michelle Branch at Lights Festival Lane, presented by Southwest Airlines.
Subaru will have a display by North Michigan Avenue at Illinois Street. Beginning at noon there will be an Ice Carving Demonstration; and festival-goers can stop by to have their photo taken and receive a Subaru Santa Hat, while supplies last.
The day's activities lead up to the much-anticipated tree lighting parade, the country's largest evening holiday celebration. The parade begins at 5:30pm as Grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse lead more than 40 magnificent floats; helium-filled balloons; classic characters from the Walt Disney World® Resort; and five marching bands from across the country. Celebrity appearances include Verve Records' pop/soul/funk phenom, Charles Perry; world-renowned tenor, Anthony Kearns, a member of the PBS super-group, the Irish Tenors; and Girl and the Dreamcatcher featuring Dove Cameron and Ryan McCarten.
Audiences can expect crowd favorites such as Santa soaring down the parade route on a brand new float; the larger-than-life Hubert the Lion balloon from BMO Harris Bank; and the world-famous scent of Garrett Popcorn Shop's popcorn infused from the shop's float. Other visual masterpieces include a float made of life-size candy from Candyality and the talented troupe from CirquesExperience.
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival draws to a grand conclusion with a spectacular fireworks display over the Chicago River.
The nationally-televised event will be hosted by ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchors Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky on Saturday, November 21 from 6 – 7 pm CST on ABC 7 Chicago, with Janet Davies spotlighting some of the best acts from Broadway in Chicago and Tanja Babich capturing the magic from the street. It will also be streamed LIVE on Watch ABC to viewers in the Chicago area and will be available on-demand at abc7chicago.com.
The Lights Festival will air in 93% of markets around the United States throughout the holiday season, with repeat airings in multiple markets. Viewers can find their local broadcast times at TheMagnificentMile.com or check their local listings to relive the magic.
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is also the perfect time to get a start on holiday shopping! Seasonal promotions and holiday happenings from area shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions continue into the new year.
About Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous, nearly 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center featuring four theme parks (Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park , Epcot®, Disney's Hollywood Studios® and Magic Kingdom® Park; two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); 35 resort hotels (25 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, includes seven Disney Vacation Club resort properties); two full-service spas; Disney's Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Disney Springs with one-of-a-kind shopping and waterfront dining. Located at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971. Open daily, year-round.
About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A., Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $672 billion in assets (as of July 31, 2015).
About Southwest Airlines Co.
In its 45th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 48,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest operates more than 3,600 flights a day, serving 97 destinations across the United States and seven additional countries.
About The Magnificent Mile®
The Magnificent Mile® is Chicago's premier destination, offering more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, unique museums and entertaining attractions to more than 20 million visitors each year. As one of the Great Avenues of the World, The Magnificent Mile district features extraordinary shopping, critically-acclaimed dining, world-class hotel accommodations, seasonal event campaigns and exceptional urban landscaping with more than 52 separate parkway gardens that reflect the changing seasons and complement the unique architectural beauty of Chicago. For more information, visit TheMagnificentMile.com or follow The Magnificent Mile on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and foursquare.
SOURCE The Magnificent Mile Association